I like to leave the bubble that’s my studio in Bogota and go to the Colombian countryside, which has seen unimaginable violence. One of the best ways to understand reality—which we in Colombia tend to turn our backs on—is to listen to peasant farmers and learn from their stories.
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Born in 1947 in Medellín, Colombia
Lives and works in Bogotá, Colombia

Article

Juan Manuel Echavarría

Juan Manuel Echavarría achieves presence (of Colombia’s precarious situation) through absence (of explicit pictorial material). He often makes use of metaphor as well to make his Colombian subject matter universally applicable. The precise, condensed stylistic means allow the penny to drop for the viewer only on closer inspection.

The effects of violence can be depicted more strikingly than violence itself as demonstrated by the video Bocas de ceniza (Mouths of Ash): Colombians who have been witness to terrible massacres sing simple songs of their experiences. This cathartic, self-therapeutic act takes place with such intense concentration and such startling frankness that the psyches of the performers are laid entirely bare. The almost unbearable presence of their eyes and voices permits us to become intimately involved, even though we never learn any of the details.

The social relation of two parrots in the video Guerra y pa’ (War and Peace) becomes a persuasive symbol of human coexistence. In Bandeja de Bolívar (Bolívar’s Platter), a hymn to his homeland is transformed step by step into a small pile of cocaine. In the series Corte de florero (Flower vase cut), exotic plants that appear to have been taken from nineteenth-century botanical encyclopedias suddenly turn out to be human bones…

Hans-Michael Herzog

Daros Exhibitions
Bibliography
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It's not neutral = Ez da neutrala = No es neutral. Exhibition catalogue, Tabakalera, Donostia-San Sebastián, Spain, July 19 - October 5, 2008. With texts by Joxean Muñoz, Luis Camnitzer and Eugenio Valdés Figueroa. Donostia - San Sebastián, Tabakalera, 2008.

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Puntos de vista. Zeitgenössische Kunst aus der Daros-Latinamerica Collection. Exhibition catalogue, Museum Bochum, Bochum, Germany, June 2 - August 26, 2007. With texts by Michael Nungesser and a dialogue between Hans Günter Golinski and Hans-Michael Herzog. Bochum, Museum Bochum, 2007.

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System error: War is a force that gives us meaning. Exhibition catalogue, Palazzo delle Papesse, Siena, Italy, February 3 - May 6, 2007. With texts by Lorenzo Fusi, Naeem Mohaiemen (et al.). Milan, Silvana Editoriale, 2007.

Viva la muerte. Exhibition catalogue, Kunsthalle Wien, Austria, October 17, 2007 - February 17, 2008; CAAM, Las Palmas, Gran Canaria, April - June 2008. With texts by Thomas Miessgang (et al.). Wien, Kunsthalle Wien, 2007.

Viva la muerte. Exhibition catalogue, Kunsthalle Wien, Austria, October 17, 2007 - February 17, 2008; CAAM, Las Palmas, Gran Canaria, April - June 2008. With texts by Thomas Miessgang (et al.). Wien, Kunsthalle Wien, 2007.

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Mens. Verhaal van een wonde = Mankind. Story of a wound. Exhibition catalogue, Centre for Religious Art and Culture, Catholic University, Leuven, and S.M.A.K., Ghent, Belgium, September 16 - November 19, 2006. With texts by Idalie Vandamme (et al.). Leuven, Centrum voor Religieuze Kunst en Cultuur, 2006.

eva 2006 - give (a)way. Exhibition catalogue, Limerick City Gallery of Art, Limerick, ireland, March 11 - May 21, 2006. With texts by Katerina Gregos (et al.). Oysterhaven, Glandon, 2006.

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Juan Manuel Echavarría. Mouths of ash = Bocas de ceniza. Exhibition catalogue, North Dakota Museum of Art, Grand Forks, North Dakota, August 13 - October 16, 2005. With texts by Laurel Reuter (et al.). Milan, Charta, 2005.

La Biennale di Venezia. 51. International art exhibition. Participating countries, collateral events. Published in conjunction with the 51st Venice Biennial, June 12 - November 6, 2005. With a text by Fabrizio Plessi.

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Malin, Regula. Cantos Cuentos Colombianos. Zeitgenössische Kunst aus Kolumbien. Zürich, Daros Art Education, 2004.

Juan Manuel Echavarría. Guerra y pa y otras series. Exhibition brochure, Sala de Exposiciones El Galpón, Universidad de los Andes, Bogotá, October 13 - November 5, 2004. With tetxs by Ana Tiscornia (et al.). Bogotá, Sala de Exposiciones El Galpón, Universidad de los Andes, 2004.

Juan Manuel Echavarría. La María y otras series. Exhibition brochure, Museo de Arte Moderno La Tertulia, Cali, February - April 2003. With a text by Miguel González. Cali, Museo de Arte Moderno La Tertulia, 2003.

Shadow Festival 4. Documentary film festival 2003. Special films deserve a special context. Catalogue, published in conjunction with the Shadow Festival 4, Amsterdam, 20 - 27. November 2004. With texts by Vilém Flusser (et al.). Amsterdam, Shadow Festival 4, 2003.

Juan Manuel Echavarría. Exhibition catalogue, Ministerio de Educación y Cultura, San José, March 22, - April 20, 2001. With a text by Patricia Bentancur. San José, Ministerio de Educación y Cultura; Embajada de España, 2001.

Historia cosmopolita. Exhibition catalogue, Area de Cultura y Fiestas Mayores, Sevilla, May 2000. With a text by Berta Sichel. Sevilla, Ayuntamento, 2000.

Proyecto pentágono. Investigaciones sobre arte contemporáneo en Colombia. Catalogue, published in conjunction with 5 exhibitions in Colombia. With texts by Miguel Rojas Sotelo (et al.). Santafé de Bogotá, Ministerio de Cultura, 2000.

Arte y violencia en Colombia desde 1948. Exhibition catalogue, Museo de Arte Moderno de Bogotá, May - July 1999. With texts by Álvaro Medina (et al.). Bogotá, Museo de Arte Moderno, 1999.

Power, Kevin. Diálogos iberoamericanos. II simposio internacional. La identidad iberoamericana: modernidad y posmodernidad. Valencia, Generalitat Valenciana, 1999.

Hertz, Betti-Sue. Juan Manuel Echavarría. Escuela nueva. New York, UP & Co., 1999.

Corte de florero. Flower vase cut. Juan Manuel Echavarría. Catalogue, published in conjunction with the exhibition at the B & B International Gallery, New York, 1998. With a text by Ana Tiscornia. New York, The River Press, 1998.

Echavarría, Juan Manuel. Moros en la costa. Bogotá, El Áncora Editores, 1991.

Echavarría, Juan Manuel. La gran catarata. Bogotá, Litografía Arco, 1981.

Artworks